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Ideas & Observations

Charity secures £20,000 grant after employment rate of North East women falls

A charity giving women the confidence to secure employment has received a grant of £20,000.

Smart Works Newcastle has been backed by the Postcode Neighbourhood Trust.

Office for National Statistics figures show that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020 there has been a three per cent decrease in the number of women who are employed in the North East of England, highlighting an increased need for Smart Works Newcastle services.

With ambitious growth plans to double the number of unemployed women that the charity supports, the grant will enable Smart Works Newcastle to engage more referral partners, in turn bringing more women to the service to help them back into employment.

Postcode Neighbourhood Trust provides financial support for smaller charities and good causes in the North of England, aiming to make a difference to their community with grants funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Facing stiff competition and a rigorous application process, Helen Boyd, Smart Works Newcastle service delivery manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supported with a grant of £20,000 from The Postcode Neighbourhood Trust.

“Contributing to our core costs and growth plans, this funding will enable us to support more women from across the North East into employment and financial independence. This is a real boost for the charity, and will help us to keep taking our organisation from strength-to-strength.”

In addition to the four members of staff who oversee the strategic and operational delivery of the charity, the dressing and coaching service is delivered by a team of highly skilled, fully trained volunteer coaches, as well as stylists to provide women with advice and access to professional workwear.

Clothes and accessories are all donated through retail partners including Hobbs, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis, as well as through donations from the general public.

Smart Works Newcastle is an independent charity that sits under a national, volunteer-led charity Smart Works, which was set up in 2013 in London. It since opened centres in Manchester, Edinburgh, Reading, Birmingham, and Leeds. The Newcastle centre was set up in 2018.